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stamford underage drinking lawyerThe last year and a half have been stressful for everyone. As a result, more people are turning to alcohol and drugs to cope. This is true for adults as well as teenagers. The Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services reports that underage drinking is on the rise. The organization hopes to raise awareness of the dangers of underage drinking and encourages individuals to reach out for help if they are struggling with substance use. In Connecticut, underage drinking and underage drinking and driving can lead to serious consequences. If your child was caught drinking, a juvenile criminal defense lawyer can help.  

Know the Consequences of Underage Drinking in Connecticut

With prom, high school graduation, and summer parties just around the corner, parents should remain vigilant regarding underage drinking. Many young people think that drinking before age 21 is no big deal. However, underage purchase and possession of alcohol can lead to stiff fines and even criminal penalties. Buying alcohol or possessing alcohol when you are younger than 21 is penalized by a fine of up to $500. Using a fake ID to purchase alcohol is a misdemeanor criminal offense punishable by a maximum of 30 days in jail and a driver’s license suspension of 150 days.

Underage Driving Under the Influence D) Can Lead to Criminal Penalties

If you are under age 21, the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit when driving a motor vehicle is 0.02 percent. This means that even a single alcoholic drink could make you too impaired to drive legally. For underage drivers, driving while under the influence of alcohol may result in a driver’s license suspension of six months for a first offense as well as a fine of up to $1000 and up to 6 months in detention or jail. If an underage driver’s BAC is above 0.08 percent, the license suspension is increased to one year. Second and subsequent offenses are penalized by longer driver’s license suspension periods.

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stamford juvenile defense lawyerMost people make poor decisions in their youth, and Connecticut law reflects that these decisions should not necessarily follow a young person for the rest of his or her life. However, this does not mean that juvenile offenders are absolved of all responsibility for their offenses. Juveniles who are convicted of a crime can be sentenced to juvenile detention, and in some cases, may even be tried as an adult and sentenced to jail. If your child has been arrested and charged with a criminal offense, speak with a criminal defense lawyer with experience in juvenile law for help.   

Potential Consequences for Minors Who Are Accused of a Criminal Offense  

The State of Connecticut recognizes that minors accused of criminal offenses deserve a second chance. Therefore, penalties for juvenile offenses are typically focused more on rehabilitating the alleged offender rather than punishing him or her. That being said, the penalties your child may face depend largely on the type of offense he or she allegedly committed. Crimes like vandalism or petty theft are typically punished less severely than violent offenses like assault.

Connecticut Juvenile Detention

In many cases, a child who is arrested is released to his or her parents or guardians. The child is then expected to appear in juvenile court. However, some minors are held in juvenile detention until their arraignment. If your child is sentenced to juvenile detention, he or she may be held for up to 15 days. However, the detainment period may be greater if your child was accused of a “serious juvenile offense.”

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Connecticut juvenile defense attorneyIn recent decades, more and more attention has been given to bullying in schools. Teasing, psychological torment, cyberbullying through social media, and other forms of bullying often escalate into physical altercations. In many cases, it is hard to know which individual started a fight at school. Altercations can develop in a matter of seconds and teachers do not always see the circumstances that led up to a child being involved in a fight. If your son or daughter has been arrested and accused of school violence or bullying, it is important to learn about your child’s legal rights and options.

Understand Your Child’s Rights Under the Law

Your child has most of the same basic rights as an adult after being arrested. This includes the right to avoid self-incrimination and remain silent. Anything your child says to the police can be used against them. A child also has the right to contact their parent or guardian after being arrested. When you can talk to your child, encourage them to assert their rights and decline police questioning.

Learn About the Connecticut Pretrial School Violence Prevention Program

As a parent, you are probably worried that your child’s arrest will negatively affect their future. Fortunately, there may be a way to get your child’s charges dismissed. If your child has been accused of physically harming another child or threatening physical violence, they may qualify for the Connecticut Pretrial School Violence Prevention Program. This program aims to educate youth offenders instead of punishing them. To qualify for the program, the student and their parents or guardians must swear that they do not possess drugs, firearms, dangerous weapons, or other illicit materials. The student must also consent to extending the statute of limitations for the case. The program lasts one year and involves group counseling and lessons in anger management and conflict resolution. If the student finishes the program, the charges against them are dismissed and their record is sealed. This means that the record will not be visible to the general public.

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Stamford CT juvenile defense attorneyAs a parent, it can be extremely disheartening to watch your child make bad decisions. This is especially true if your child makes a mistake that leads to criminal charges. If your son or daughter has been convicted of drug possession, driving under the influence of alcohol, assault, theft, or another offense, you may worry about how this will affect the rest of their life. You may worry about your child being labeled a criminal for something that they did when they were very young. Fortunately, you may be able to get your child’s record expunged.

Expungement and Sealing of a Juvenile Record

Juvenile criminal cases are handled differently depending on the severity of the crime, the juvenile’s age, and other factors. If your child’s case was decided in juvenile court, they are a “juvenile offender” or “juvenile delinquent.” This is not the same as being convicted of a crime in the way that adult offenders are convicted of a crime. Juvenile offenses or “delinquencies” may be expunged if:

  • The juvenile is 18 years old or older.

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Fairfield County juvenile defense attorneyThe term “sexting” is used to describe sending text messages, emails, or social media communications of a sexual nature. Often, sexting involves sending explicit photographs or videos. Many teenagers see sexting as harmless fun, but the consequences of sending explicit media can be profound. Many teenagers have had their private photographs leaked to unintended recipients and suffered other humiliating consequences. Furthermore, sending and receiving explicit photographs can lead to criminal charges including charges for child pornography.

Personal Consequences of Sexting

Teens may send sexual messages to get attention, to “fit in” with their peers, or for countless other reasons. Many teens think that sending messages through certain social media platforms like Snapchat ensures that the photograph or video cannot be saved and shared. However, nothing sent through the internet is ever completely private. According to Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, sexting can lead to ridicule, embarrassment, and even mental health problems like depression and anxiety.

Legal Implications for Sending Sexual Images in Connecticut

Child pornography refers to photographs, videos, and other media that depict children in a sexual manner. Many teens do not realize that by sending sexually explicit photographs of themselves, they may technically be sending child pornography. Prior to recent changes in Connecticut law, there was no distinction between traditional child pornography and teen sexting. While the law now distinguishes between these two issues, sexting involving minors is still unlawful.

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